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In Brief

After installing iOS 7.1.1 when it became available on Tuesday, I thought I saw a marked improvement in my iPhone’s battery life. I’m not the only one as ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes noted the same on Thursday, sharing results from multiple six-hour battery tests. Prior to the update, his iPhone battery would drop from 100 percent capacity down to 48 percent. After installing iOS 7.1.1, his iPhone battery is only falling to 76 percent from a full charge in a test cycle. Several commenters on his article agree or have seen similar results, so if you haven’t updated to iOS 7.1.1, I recommend doing so sooner rather than later.

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In Brief

windows phone remote PC access

Windows Phone  just joined the platforms that Microsoft supports with a remote control app for accessing a PC from a handset. The company quietly introduced the free Remote Desktop Preview software in the Windows Phone store on Wednesday and ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley spotted it. Microsoft first brought a secure remote access app to competing platforms — namely iOS and Android — last year, so this new preview app closes the circle by giving Microsoft’s own Windows Phone users the same functionality: Full, secure access to a remote computer for viewing data or running apps on the small screen

In Brief

CrOS docking

Google’s Chrome OS is looking more and more like a traditional desktop operating system when it comes to usability and familiarity. Now, when using a Chrome app that normally opens in a small window, you can drag it to the side of your display and the main browser will automatically re-size to make room. Microsoft introduced a similar feature called Snap in Windows 7 and it works the same in Chrome OS. That’s likely not a coincidence. Working in a browser-based environment is a big change for some after decades of using Microsoft Windows. By replicating existing usability and navigation features, Chrome OS becomes more familiar to new users.

In Brief

In a bit of an about-face, Microsoft added a little support to Google’s Chrome strategy by announcing Office Online apps in the Chrome Web Store on Monday. “Apps” is a bit of a misnomer: These are shortcuts for Chrome’s app launcher to the already available web versions of Word, Excel and Power Point. The timing of the gesture is interesting as well: It corresponds with the ZDNet’s reported end of Microsoft’s Scroogled ad campaign today, a series of spots that focused on Chrome OS deficiencies including the fact that they don’t run Microsoft Office.

In Brief

cortana says hi

After seeing Windows Phone 8.1 shown off earlier this month, developers can now get their hands on the software. Engadget saw that Microsoft released the update on Monday for any Windows Phone 8 device. While the software is meant for those who make Windows Phone applications, anyone can technically download and install it either by registering as developer for $19, register for free using Microsoft’s App Studio software or follow a process to developer unlock their handset.  The new software includes Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-centric assistant, personalization tools and support for Universal Windows Apps to name a few functions.

In Brief

HTC One M8 in hand

After weeks in Verizon stores only, the HTC One M8 finds its way to other carrier partner locations. On Friday, the company said the flagship handset can be picked up from AT&T and Sprint retail stores for $199 with contract; T-Mobile is still taking pre-orders. The phone has earned positive reviews and my own first impressions are very promising; the more I use the HTC One M8, the more I see welcome improvements. HTC is also selling an unlocked, no-contract version of the device for $699.99 directly through its website while Google is offering a Google Play Edition with pure Android for the same price.

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